Kent State offers area more than education

Kent State offers area more than education

Many amenities offered through university, available to public

By BRIANA BARKER Staff Writer Published: August 6, 2017 4:00 AM

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KENT — Having a university in the heart of town is not only conducive to higher education but offers a variety of opportunities and experiences for the locals.

Steven Langdon, marketing coordinator for the KSU’s Department of Recreational Services, said most campuses only open their recreation centers to students but KSU’s facility is open to community members, faculty and staff.

Aside from the traditional sporting events, concerts and theater performances, KSU offers the general public a plethora of activities.

The recreation center alone offers a variety of things to do at various prices. The 153,000-square-foot state-of-the-art center features workout equipment, fitness and wellness programs including personal training and fitness consultations as well as nutrition counseling. Classes of every level and interest are available including aqua classes, dance, yoga, pilates, spinning, ab/core and total body workouts. “Lunchtime” express workouts are also available for those nearby but on a time crunch. Kickboxing, powerlifting and self-defense classes are also offered.

Langdon said there are also many family friendly activities.

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“I think it’s one of the first things people are surprised by, when you think of a rec center you typcially think of a track, some free weights, maybe a pool but we have rock climbing, ski trips and all that cool stuff too,” Langdon said.

Outdoor activities can be found in abundance. Crooked River Adventures, which is run by KSU, is a canoe and kayak livery based at Tannery Park in downtown Kent that offers canoeing, paddle boarding, kayaking and tubing down the Cuyahoga River. The livery is open seasonally from April to October and sees an average of 2,500 participants each year. Self-guided trips and guided trips are available. If the river is too high or extremely low, trips to the Mogadore Reservoir are also available. Walkups are permitted but it is highly recommended to book your trip in advance as weekend trips usually sell out, according to officials.

“These trips fill up daily so you can go online and book a trip,” Langdon said. “You can opt for a guided tour and a staff member goes along and can point out some cool things in the river and give tips.”

He added groups can book, since as many as 20 can go out on a trip at once. Langdon said they have had Boy Scout troops, family reunions and team building groups take the river trips.

The outdoor fun isn’t restricted to water; river travelers can elect to have a bike meet them at the pickup point and bike their way back to the start.

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The rec center also offers a climbing wall where equipment rental is available and climbing clinics are offered in introductory and advanced levels. According to the website, Fridays offer free climbing from 4 to 8 p.m. The wall can also be rented out for birthday parties, Scout troops, churches, clubs and more.

Massages are also available at the rec center. Patrons can enjoy the relaxation of a massage for 15 minutes up to an hour. Chair, sports and prenatal massages are also offered. To schedule an appointment call the Fitness Suite at 330-672-0485.

Two pools, a 25-yard lap pool with six lanes and a leisure pool are also available at the rec center, with day passes available.

Discounts are available for the rec center including Silver Sneakers, Charter Members, military, Golden Buckeye or corporate memberships. For a complete list of fees visit or call 330-672-4732.

The Kent State Ice Arena boasts two rinks, a party room and a snack bar. Offering Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey lessons, the arena also rents ice time to local organizations and is the home rink for the Kent State Club Hockey Team and the Kent Figure Skating Club.

Langdon said with the Winter Olympics coming up, he plans to schedule a viewing party for the opening ceremonies at the arena and have winter games-themed activities.

The Kent State Golf Course may have closed but the trendy disc golf game is offered in the form of an 18-hole course. The course is free and open to the community. Discs are free to rent in the Pro Shop. The course begins outside the main entrance of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC), loops around various areas of the Recreation Corridor and ends back at the SRWC.

Team sports fans can assemble groups to play in softball, volleyball and basketball leagues at the university. The leagues are open to anyone over the age of 18, and registration is due by Aug. 31. Interested parties can register online, in person at the rec center or mail-in by Aug. 31. For more information contact Greg Bailey at 330-672-0463.

If you are a running enthusiast, the 17th Annual Bowman Cup 5K is coming up Oct. 14 at 8 a.m. The course, which begins at the rec center, follows the Portage Hike and Bike Trail. Parking is free and winners will be crowned in 16 age groups including an 80 and over and under age 10.

For those who aren’t runners but like a daily walk, and don’t feel like walking around campus itself, the walking track at the KSU Field House is open to the public for a fee while school is in session. A single day pass costs $5 but memberships by semester or annually are available. The track is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. unless a sporting event is happening and the team needs the use of the space. A spokesperson for the field house said a note is posted on the door when that occurs.

If someone is interested but overwhelmed by the choices, the center hosts a “Demo Week” from Aug. 27 to Sept. 9, Langdon said.

The Kent State University Museum located on Hilltop Drive is open Wednesday through Sunday. The museum features decorative art and collections of fashion. Exhibits change, so no two trips may be the same. General admission is $5, seniors 55 and older pay $4 while admission for children ages 7-18 costs $3. Sundays are free to everyone and students, staff, faculty with a valid KSU I.D. are free any day. For more information visit for more information.

While Kent has a public library, the university also offers community members ages 16 and older free borrowing privileges at any KSU Library.

Briana Barker: 330-541-9432

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